People who have cancer or other serious diseases require additional support to the traditional treatments of the disease, supportive care is this additional care. Supportive care normally includes pain control, emotional and spiritual support, the purpose is to improve the quality of the patient’s life. It can be used before, after or at any point of the persons treatment once their primary healthcare professional has given approval. Supportive care is not intended to cure the disease, it is used to relieve symptoms and side-effects such as fatigue, pain or nausea, from the disease or treatment. Cancer-related fatigue is experience across a wide range of cancer types impacting the patient’s ability to function, hence, this is among the most distressing of all symptoms reported by patients.
Fatigue is one of the most common and debilitating symptoms experienced by patients with cancer. Cancer-related fatigue is not the normal feeling of tiredness it is descried as feeling weak, listless, drained or washed out and cannot be relieved by rest or sleep. Cancer-related fatigue may be caused by many factors, these factors can vary from patient to patient. Some cancers release proteins called cytokines, which are thought to cause fatigue. Treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery can all also cause fatigue. Other factors such as pain, lack of sleep, emotions, nausea and poor nutrition can also cause fatigue.
Patients with serious diseases have several options available to them for supportive care. Some solutions may not be suitable for a patient due to other treatments they are getting for the disease, they may not work, or the side effects may be accentuated. Where possible it is best to try natural self-management solutions to avoid additional side-effects and for the overall well-being of the body, this is not always possible for people with serious diseases and medication is required. It is advisable to speak with healthcare professionals to find the best solution.
Medication is available to treat the symptoms that are causing fatigue such as antidepressants, sleeping pills and antiemetics to reduce nausea; some of these medications may not work for patient due to other medications they are on. There are other solutions such as blood transfusion for anaemia or medications to stimulate your bone marrow to produce more red blood cells to reduce symptoms causing fatigue.
There are a number of self-management solutions for patients to try to reduce levels of fatigue such as taking it easy to conserve energy, drinking lots of fluids and eating well, when feeling up to it get out and about doing some minor exercises. However, these solutions are not always possible as the patient may not be able to eat well or may not have enough energy to get out of bed.
SBDV is a self-management solution that was specifically developed as supportive care to reduce cancer-related fatigue. The SBDV patch gives patients control to manage their self-care by applying patches to the acupressure point. They are an ideal way for a patient to reduce fatigue especially in the early days of treatment when energy levels are low. The non-transdermal patches are simply placed on the skin to stimulate acupuncture points. The patches contain light-reflecting technology and light-emitting materials to restore energy emitted by the body.